Visiting the breeder

Two puppies with eyes closed

Your experience of visiting a breeder should always be a happy and positive one.

Below is some information to help guide you through what to expect from your visit, and what warning signs you should walk away from.

If you're unsure about a breeder, don't buy

If you have any reservations about a breeder then it is best to trust your instincts and walk away. 

If you think that a breeder may be a puppy farmer, or is breeding irresponsibly, then never purchase a puppy from them, even if you think you are rescuing the puppy. The puppy may be better off going home with you, but by giving the "breeder" money you are ensuring that other puppies will suffer in horrible and unethical conditions.

The puppies and their environment

The puppies

  • The breeder should give you the opportunity to see and handle all of the puppies in the litter, rather than just the puppy you’re thinking of buying
  • The puppies should appear happy, healthy and inquisitive
  • The breeder should not be selling puppies that are unwell or show signs of illness (runny eyes or nose, weakness or diarrhoea)
  • The breeder should only sell you a puppy once they are 8 weeks of age or older

Their environment

  • The breeder should want to show you where the dogs are kept, where they sleep and where the puppies were born
  • You should be able to see the whelping pen, comfortable bedding, food and clean water
  • The breeder should have a safe and clean home for all their dogs – both puppies and mum

The mother

  • The breeder should be willing and able to show you the puppy interacting with its mother and siblings. If you are not able to see the puppies’ mother you should consider walking away, even if an apparently good reason has been provided – irresponsible breeders will often use any excuse, e.g. that the mother is at the vets or unwell
  • The mother should be happy and relaxed
  • The mother may still be feeding her puppies and have enlarged nipples

Ask for details

  • The breeder should be happy to provide you with details of their vet, so you can check on the health of their puppies and breeding dogs
  • The breeder should be happy to show you any paperwork, e.g. certificates from The Kennel Club, vaccination information, health tests or screening scheme certificates
  • The breeder should be happy to answer any questions that you have about their dogs, the breed or their breeding choices
  • Be prepared to be put on a waiting list it's worth waiting for a healthy puppy and it's a good sign if a breeder has demand for their pups

Always trust your instincts

  • Do not buy a puppy if you feel pressured to buy
  • Do not buy if you have any doubts about the breeder
  • Don’t rush any decisions

Once you have visited the breeder, it’s important that you don’t make a snap decision. Ensure that the breeder is happy for you to have plenty of time to make up your mind about buying the puppy. 

Any breeder that pressurises you into buying a puppy may be looking to make a quick profit and should be avoided at all costs.

Learn how to spot an irresponsible breeder or puppy farmer.

Next step

Now that you’ve found your breeder and are happy that they have taken steps to breed happy healthy dogs, it’s important that you know what paperwork the breeder should give you with your puppy.